How Can I Avoid Relational Conflict?

Avoiding conflict seems like it would be the best thing to do to keep peace in our relationships. However, in my experience as well as coaching / mentoring others, I have found that ignoring tensions or avoiding conflict in relatinships, often becomes more painful than facing them. And facing conflict, with a goal to resolving it in a healthy way, can be considerably more pleasurable than avoiding it.

The biggest difference between a person who enjoys success and peace in relationships, and those who do not, is typically determined by how committed he / she is to managing conflict and resolution.

Negative options for dealing with conflict may include: avoiding it, giving in, becoming passive-aggressive or bullying the other person.

A positive, more beneficial way of resolving conflict may be to collaborate and problem-solve together, while committing to learn and grow by honoring the other person.

Sometimes the best way to avoid issues escalating, is to face them early on. Resolving conflict in your life is the pathway to intimacy, growth and peace in all of your relationships!

It never hurts to add a little humor….

Sheri

How can we handle people we are close to who have very different opinions?

Being easily offended or defensive when someone has a different opinion that does not support our views is a negative response that hinders emotional maturity.

Allowing respectful diverse view points into our thinking helps us grow and gain insight from different perspectives. Limiting ourselves to ideas only from people who agree with us can inhibit or destroy significant relationships.

Assuming that we are being rejected if others do not perform as we desire or show support in our endeavors results in unhealthy thought processes.

If we work to communicate with one another with kindness, patience, and understanding, we can cultivate ways to operate in love and empathy, opening opportunities for growth and strong relationships that impact us personally, spiritually and professionally.

Might it be possible that God intended diversity to mature and teach us how to love in a way that transforms us as well as others?

I believe it is worth pondering… 

Sheri 

Empowered by Solitude

Consider the benefit of solitude… In our fast-paced, high performing lifestyles, it is often very hard to find a time for solitude, and most of us try to avoid it anyway.

Why do we attempt to avoid it? I believe people may think of solitude as “loneliness” But they are two very different mindsets.
Loneliness brings to mind times when we have been down or have felt overlooked, unloved or rejected. Not so with solitude.

Solitude is a purposeful choice that we make to come apart, if you will, before we “come a-part”. It is a place where we recognize that we need to take a breather, to get a second wind in facing our lives and circumstances.

Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old Testament reported that …”in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” [Isaiah 30:15b] Solitude can be a divine appointment with ourselves in the presence of God only. It can be a place where we can determine our purpose for the here and now.

Be warned that there are many distractions that seek to monopolize our time and to prevent us from this wonderful opportunity for renewal that we find in separating ourselves to gain perspective.

Our dealings with difficult situations [or people] can best be put in proper perspective when we move away from the circumstance or person and evaluate the true issues of conflict or division, something that is rarely accomplished in a head-to-head debate.

Nothing good comes without cost, and solitude is no exception. The cost is that of separation and commitment to the effort of trading off some “good” plans or events for some in our “best” interest.

To attain the best from our times of solitude, we need to make it a priority. It is important that we learn to take care of ourselves, in order that we are best prepared to handle the other “important” issues of our lives. It is okay to prepare and equip yourself for difficult or stressful times.

A major benefit of solitude, when practiced on a regular basis, is good health [it’s fat free as well]. It de-stresses and energizes us when we make it a habit. We can experience better productivity in our work and projects and often, receive clarity, because our mind is cleared, concerning a problem that we have been perplexed by or perhaps just haven’t had the time to deal with appropriately.

Solitude helps repair the “noise” that we endure in so much of our waking lives. It brings a quietness and a calmness that will be a comfort to us as well as to others. Overall, solitude brings us to a place of peace and communion with our Creator, and can restore our hope to press on through rough times.

Do not underestimate the empowering characteristics of solitude. One final benefit, you will be in good company!

Sheri 

What I Am Becoming is Way More Important than What I am Doing!

A bold statement: “What I am becoming is way more important than what I am doing”.

Yet, in reality, it is freeing. It allows me to stop worrying about producing and pay attention to the things I am learning, the ways I’m being stretched, and what is birthed in the way of fruit as a result of the choices I make in life.

We’ve probably all experienced the George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life) moments, where we wonder if our having been born really makes much difference at all. These ideas usually come on the tail end of a season of having things seemingly on a downturn. Much of these distractions, if we choose to focus on them, tend to keep us from happily “row row rowing our boat merrily, merrily, merrily, down the stream”. 

If we can consider that perhaps, what we are becoming through the processes of reflection, growth and change in our lives may be more important than whatever it is we are endeavoring to do, we may be able to endure the challenges of life more patiently.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, he identifies the difference in our level of expertise in life according to a 10,000-hour rule. This “rule” is that when you have invested 10k hours in doing something, you are truly an expert at it. He parallels the lives of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, among others. It is a really good read about some interesting success stories, as well as motivational.

The importance is placed on what we are becoming in light of practicing and reading and engaging in repeated efforts around things we are passionate about.  I think of it like learning to write in cursive, or playing the piano, or whatever we endeavor to do well.  We don’t arrive at “being a master”; the art of mastery is in the becoming…the practice, the conscious thinking and focusing on, the commitment to continuing to get back in the ring, on the bike or horse, or at the keyboard, and the willingness to compete with only one…myself…as a means for improving today over yesterday.

It isn’t a striving; it is a growing process. It is natural like learning to crawl before we walk and like acquiring a taste for new things, whether it be food or adventure.

To enjoy life on a broader scale, be open to all things but attached to none.  Being open doesn’t mean you have to “do” all things; the openness (absence of judgment) frees us mentally to focus on the becoming. We celebrate and feel the exhilaration of what “can be” as opposed to fighting what can’t be or feeling hemmed in by all we “can’t do”.

I recently engaged in a conversation with a good friend as we discussed the “bearing of fruit” in our lives versus “producing fruit”. She had spent some time reflecting on her journey and what God’s Word says regarding the difference and it was very enlightening. We often strive to produce fruit. If we can frame our efforts in the matter of “bearing fruit”, it is a natural progression of building on to a well-laid foundation or a well-watered garden.

So, whatever you are facing at the present moment, if you are tempted to stress over all that you are doing, whether or not it is the right thing to do or try, consider that what you will learn in this season is another piece in what you are becoming. We are able to learn from all choices that we make and we benefit from everything we learn, so you can just go with it and welcome the awareness you now have around the art of becoming.

God has ignited a candle within each of us, a passion with potential to burn brightly in our sphere of influence. As we move into the process of becoming and away from the worry of “doing”, we will have more clarity in the many ways He will work in and through us so that we can take our candle and light our world.

What you do, may be forgotten tomorrow, but what you become will make all the difference!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Wife & Mom

7 Steps to Overcoming the Hurdle of Saying “No”

Learning to say ‘No’ hasn’t been easy for me. My desire for a life balance that works for me has motivated me to learn to say yes or no out of the freedom to choose and not the fear of the reactions of others.

My biggest hurdles in learning to say “No” are:

~ A desire to help. I am for the most part, a kindhearted person. I don’t want to turn someone away even if it means allowing my time to be eaten up. (This can build resentment).

~ Afraid of being rude. I was reared to believe that saying “No”, especially to the significant people in my life, could be considered rude.

~ Wanting to be agreeable. I don’t want to alienate myself from others because I’m not in agreement, thus I’m tempted to conform to status quo.

~ Fear of conflict. I sometimes fear the reactions of another if I reject their requests. I’d rather avoid confrontation.

~ Fear of limiting my opportunities. I feel concerned that saying no may limit me from being considered for something in the future.

~ Fear of burning bridges. Some people take “no” as a sign of rejection. I don’t want to sever relationships. I’ve learned that if someone won’t respect my “no”, they do not deserve my “yes”.

Learning how to say “no” can make all the difference in how it’s received. It is about respecting and valuing our time and space.

7 Simple Ways To Say “No”

1. “I am unable commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”

This lets the person know my plate is full and this is something I am doing “for” myself (managing my stress/life balance) and not “to” them.

2. “I’m in the middle of something at the moment. Can we discuss it at a better time?”

This method is helpful to hold off the request and also, to allow me the time to consider if and when I can commit to it. It is important that I consider the feelings of others, but that doesn’t mean I should allow them to dictate my choices.

3. “I’d love to do this, but …”

This allows the person to know I like the idea but it just isn’t feasible for me at the moment.

4. “Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.”

This is the method I use when I really am interested but need to evaluate my schedule to see if it is truly doable. It is always easier to turn a “no” into a “yes” than to turn a “yes” into “no”.

5. “This doesn’t meet my needs now but I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.”

This is a considerate way to not lead someone on when I’m truly not interested at the moment. Here again, if there is even a slight level of interest I can easily turn “no” to “yes” if it becomes workable.

6. “I’m not the best person to help on this. Have you considered speaking to John /Jane?”

If I’m not qualified to help in the particular request, I try to point the other person to someone who may be able to assist them or continue to route them to the right person.

7. “No, I can’t.”

It’s easy to assume the worst case scenario when I need to say no. Sometimes straight to the point is the simplest and best method. Things usually work out for the best, at least for those who are willing to make the best of the way things work out.